Metacognitive awareness in language learning strategies and strategy instruction in CLIL Settings

Journal for the Psychology of Language Learning

This article contrasts two studies that focus on language learning strategies (Study 1) and strategyinstruction (Study 2) in CLIL programs. Drawing from the literature on language learning strategies andstrategy instruction, we propose a theoretical framework that takes into account metacognitive awarenessas a useful concept to capture the interrelatedness of teaching, learning and using language learningstrategies in CLIL. We approach metacognitive awareness from two positions: 1) as a concept thatdescribes self-regulated learning in students and constitutes one of the important areas of languagelearning strategies (metacognitive strategies), and 2) as a key concept when describing the decisionsteachers make in their pedagogical planning and implementation, including when deciding on whichlanguage learning strategies to single out for instruction, and how to instruct these. We understand thesetwo positions as interrelated and “speaking to each other”, scaffolding the learning processes through focused attention to vocabulary and language structures needed for content message and understanding.For future research, we propose a focus on CLIL teachers’ reflective cycles that take into account students’prior knowledge (e.g., cognates, language learning strategies learnt in mainstream language classes,understanding of subject-specific concepts in native language), to build up a repertoire of language learningstrategies and strategy instruction that supports the processes when integrating language and contentlearning.